At 4 AM last night, I found myself proclaiming, “This doesn’t look right.” Andrew woke up with a start, questioning, “Libby, are you OK? What’s wrong? Libby?!” I shook the sleep out of my eyes and wearily replied, “We were driving and we were lost.” I was simply in the midst of my thrilling dream-life that rules the space of my subconscious between dusk and dawn every night.
It took us both a while to get back to sleep–me because, well, pregnancy, and Andrew because he was clearing his body of the adrenaline rush that was coursing through his blood. He told me the next morning that he was terrified and his mind instantly went to the worst possible scenario. Oh, my sweet dear husband.
Suffice it to say, we’re both a little on-edge as I pass this threshold of the 16-week mark.
Last week I had my first real freak-out moment this pregnancy. Not for anything super specific or blatantly unusual feeling, but mostly just some consistent nagging aches that, quite honestly, I’ve experienced dozens of times in early pregnancy but never questioned once. I know what a normal 16 weeks feels like, now that I’ve been through it twice, but the final 24 weeks? It’s all-new ground from here on out.
In my first pregnancy, I was SO RELAXED, even as we drove to the hospital that fateful morning I started bleeding. I thought, “Oh, it’s probably fine.” I sometimes wonder what a full-term pregnancy with a living baby would have looked and felt like if that was my first experience with pregnancy and motherhood. But, I’ll never, ever get that experience. I grieve for that.
So last week, while I bathed in anxiety for two days, my mind raced at all the possible ways my pregnancy could end right now. I have full faith that my baby is healthy, but in my darkest moments, I find myself completely doubting the ability of my body to carry and hold a living baby to term. It doesn’t even matter that my septum is gone; my brain continues to search for the worst possible situation for my body to fail its motherly duty.
And what did I do, amidst this internal crisis of mind? Something you’ve probably all done and instantly regretted: consulted Dr. Google.
And, you can guess the state of my mind after that poor decision. I soon started to cry as my body felt tense, my breath tight. Because I was on the road with my husband traveling the 2+ hours from home to our pre-scheduled 15.5-week midwife appointment (ah, rural living), and had no access to my usual comforts like walking, chicken-watching, standing in the rain, and listening to the heart of a cedar tree, I called my mama on the phone in tears. I’m 29 years old, my mom is 68, and even still, she is the first person I call in times of distress.
I made it through that day, and I spent the next two days walking outside, doing whole-body meditations, singing Gaelic, reaching out to beloved friends for comfort, and painting some watercolor creations by candlelight (see this week’s photo). The only thing that went a little sideways was accidentally catching my hair on fire as I leaned heavily towards the paper to direct the paintbrush to detail some tree branches. I didn’t notice a curl smoldering until my nose alerted me of the unique scent of burnt hair. Fortunately, I only lost one small curl and got a much-needed laugh out of the whole ordeal.
So, one freak-out moment down, likely more to come before my sweet babe arrives healthy and in my arms in May.
Yes, I’m starting to think and say WHEN my baby arrives, not IF. Obviously, nobody knows how it’s going to turn out, but I’m consciously choosing to believe in the possibility and hang on to hope and faith. I’m proud that in these moments of feeling so vulnerable, scared, and ungrounded, I can remember my tools and access them, connect to my breath, and find peace amidst the storm of unpredictability.